FOOD LABELING AND CONSUMER DECISIONS

Welcome one more day to Amerex’ Blog! By the end of last year FAO published a proposed standard to update the definition of one of the most popular claims regarding the nutritional content of foods, the one referring to the term “healthy”. This update on the definition of “healthy” on food labels is a very interesting and relevant topic for the food industry. Providing informative and accessible food labelling empowers consumers and can help foster a healthier food supply for all. In this post we aim to put this proposal into context and highlight again the importance of transparent and clean labelling for consumers.

What does “healthy” mean on food labels?

In 1994, the FDA issued a regulation defining “healthy” as an implied nutrient content claim. At that time, implied nutrient content claims focused on the individual nutrients contained in foods. For example, these specific criteria for individual nutrients that must be complied within the food to be declared as “healthy” are: limits on total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and minimum amounts of nutrients whose consumption is encouraged, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein and dietary fiber.

However, this current definition of “healthy” is outdated. This update of the term is proposed to accurately represent that nutrient levels in food can help consumers maintain healthy dietary practices, since in the United States diet-related chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability.

Comida vegetariana, sana y equilibrada. Imagen de Freepik

What changes are being proposed to the definition of “healthy”?

The proposed changes to the definition of “healthy” are in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and the updated Nutrition Facts label, focusing on the consumption of key elements of a healthy dietary pattern, which can help consumers maintain healthy dietary practices and achieve a diet in line with recommendations.

For example, to include the “healthy” claim on packaging, a cereal would have to contain a certain amount of whole grains and meet limits for saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Nuts and seeds, high-fat fish such as salmon, certain oils and water are examples of foods that cannot currently be labelled as “healthy” but are part of a healthy dietary pattern and are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Therefore, they could carry the “healthy” claim under the proposed new definition announced by FAO.

Many food companies could certainly benefit from this claim as long as food labelling is accurate, transparent, informative and accessible to consumers, including those who are less nutritionally aware, and they are able to identify foods that will help them build healthy eating patterns.

How does food labelling information affect consumers’ purchasing decisions?

Food labelling is an important tool used by consumers to make informed decisions about the products they purchase. The information provided on product labels, including the list of ingredients, can significantly affect their purchasing decision. For example, the new definition of “healthy” will encourage a healthier food supply that includes fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains, and limits saturated fat, sodium and added sugars in its products, and consumers may have the ability to choose based on this.

In particular, the clean label trend has led to an increased focus on the transparency and simplicity of product labels. Consumers are looking for clear and precise labels that allow them to easily understand what they are buying, and by providing transparent and detailed information about product ingredients, food manufacturers can gain consumers’ trust and foster a long-term loyal relationship with them. Proper product labelling is therefore an essential part of succeeding in the food and beverage market.

Muestra una mujer viendo la etiqueta de un zumo. Imagen de Freepik

How can companies of the food industry adapt to changes in clean labelling?

To face changes in a product clean labelling, companies in the food industry can consider several strategies. First, it is important to review and update their product labels to ensure that they comply with the new regulations. This may involve eliminating or reducing artificial ingredients and additives, simplifying the list of ingredients and including clearer information about the origin and quality of ingredients.

Another strategy that companies can follow is to work with high-quality, honest ingredient suppliers. This can help ensure that products are more sustainable and healthy, which at the same time can improve consumer confidence and brand perception.

In addition, it is important to be aware of rising trends and changing consumer demands. The food industry is dynamic and companies must be able to adapt quickly to changes in consumer preferences. Therefore, developing new products or adjusting existing products to meet consumer demands is a very important thing.

To sum up, companies in the food industry can implement clean labelling by reviewing and updating their product labels, collaborating with high-quality ingredient experts to create innovative and customized solutions, and constantly monitoring consumer trends and demands to bring new products to market. To do so, it makes sense to think about improving your brand perception by meeting the needs of consumers who are looking for healthier, more sustainable and transparent foods.

What can Amerex do to help you stay ahead in clean food labelling?

At Amerex we are aware of the importance of offering innovative, high quality solutions that adapt to the changing needs of the market, right now with clean label on the rise. Our product range includes clean label solutions with natural ingredients that can meet these demands. With these solutions we can replace additives and treatments used in manufacturing processes, such as lactic acid or HPP, with successful and achievable results in all types of foods.

In addition, we work closely with our customers to understand their specific needs and develop customized solutions that enable them to meet clean label requirements. We use our ingredient and food formulation expertise to help food companies create products that not only fulfill consumer expectations, but are also cost-effective and sustainable.

Contact us to learn more about these alternatives and to develop products that are aligned with the current trends!

imasd@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

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